Following the announcement that the performances from the 2019 British Open Championship are to be live-streamed for the first time, the contest organisers have spoken to 4BR to explain the reasoning behind the move and the decision to reimburse the entry fees of this year's competitors.
Martin Mortimer told 4BR: "We felt that it was important to ensure that both the competing bands and our audience were aware of our current thinking.
We have been really encouraged that having been contacted by a number of bands, there is strong support to reach out to a new audience, especially in recognising that the contest is 'over-subscribed' in terms of those wishing to obtain tickets for the day itself.
Streaming the event will enable the contest to reach out further, both within Britain and throughout the world — a positive move we believe for the British Open, the competing bands and for brass banding in general."
However, Martin was keen to point out that as an exciting new venture in the event's 167 year history, they were implementing the streaming initiative , which was as yet untested at the British Open.
He added: "At this stage the feasibility for streaming the British Open is obviously unproven, although we believe it could provide long term benefits for the event, and to our competing bands.
It is however, the first step in what we hope will be an exciting development for the world's oldest contest in the years to come.
We made the decision that it was important in enabling the initiative to be progressed further that the support of the competing bands should be recognised, and that we would reimburse their entry fees for this year's event."
Martin Mortimer stated that it was also important to work alongside broadcast partners and sponsors who share the same ethos in terms of both the tradition and the future of the contest.
"The broadcast will be hosted by World of Brass and 4barsrest with support from event sponsor Besson to ensure that the presentation and recordings are of a very high quality.
Our intention is that following the event we will evaluate the outcomes to enable us to make an informed decision about 2020 and beyond.
We recognise the importance to our movement of investing in banding generally, and in the competing bands who are fundamental in making the the event a success."
At this stage the feasibility for streaming the British Open is obviously unproven, although we believe it could provide long term benefits for the event, and to our competing bandsMartin Mortimer
Martin Mortimer concluded: "We are grateful for the feedback we have received, and we will strive to ensure an open dialogue is maintained to further embrace this live-streaming initiative.
We also hope that the bands share our objective of keeping the quality and tradition of the British Open moving forward by connecting with a worldwide audience, whilst ensuring the unique atmosphere of the contest at Symphony Hall remains."
People wishing to subscribe to watch the vent can do so for £9.99 from Wednesday 4th September at: www.worldofbrass.tv